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Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 (Hardcover)
November 2012 Indie Next List
“Immigrant Clara Lemlich finds herself working in appalling conditions in a shirt-making factory in New York City. Rather than accept her fate, Clara joins fellow workers in striking against the company and their conditions. What begins small spreads throughout the country. This is an excellent historical portrayal that does justice to the immigrant work experience.”
— Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC
From acclaimed author Michelle Markel and Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet comes this true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history. This picture book biography includes a bibliography and an author's note on the garment industry. It follows the plight of immigrants in America in the early 1900s, tackling topics like activism and the U.S. garment industry, with handstitching and fabric incorporated throughout the art.
When Clara arrived in America, she couldn't speak English. She didn't know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.
But that didn't stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory.
Clara never quit, and she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen.
From her short time in America, Clara learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.
Supports the Common Core State Standards.
“The zingy images masterfully (and appropriately) incorporate fabric and stitches as well as old images of checks and time cards … This book has fighting spirit in spades-you go, Clara!”
-Booklist (starred review)
“In her simple but powerful text Markel shows how multiple arrests, serious physical attacks, and endless misogyny failed to deter this remarkable woman as she set off on her lifelong path as a union activist.”
-The Horn Book